Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week in Our Life: Reflections

Today marks the end of my week in the life documentary. I have to say that I loved and loathed this project. I loved stopping to think about the highs and lows of our days together. 
I loved trying to tie in a whole days worth of events into a short narrative. I loved looking through an entire days worth of pictures and choosing my favorites. I loved telling a story worth 10,000 words in iphone snapshots.
 I think my favorite part of this project was thinking about what I wanted to remember about each day and which stories I wanted to write and hopefully reiterate to Piper someday.

Week in the life is crazy hard though! Some nights Mr. R. and I would sit down to blog and I would ask "what do we want to remember?" "what happened today?". And we would look at each other and say "nothing really happened". And it's true. We are ordinary people with ordinary days. 
If you succeed in completing "A Week in the Life" you have succeeded in finding out why your life is wonderful and worth celebrating. 
So as I embrace August and turn to a new page on the calendar, I am going to celebrate swim lessons, family dinners, book club meetings, family naps, champers with the hubs, trips to Costco, laundry piles, clean sheets, and 2 for 1 ice cream deals because my life is awesome.  The people I share my life with are amazing. And I am blessed just to be here experiencing it all. 
(FYI: Every good celebration deserves cupcakes)

Week in the Life: Weekend Lens

Remember This: I love traditions. In fact one the of the most exciting things about marriage for me is that Mr. R. and I get to make our own traditions as a family. Our current tradition is pancakes on weekend mornings. The new fave is banana pancakes with honey and pecans.
 Observations: Everything is better when Mom is here. Family dinners, evening strolls, even a screaming baby is more tolerable when you are surrounded by family.
Favorite Moments: My grandfather and Piper already have an amazing bond. She lights up when she sees him and smiles and laughs when he makes faces.
Best: I love our church and church community. I love that Jeff and I have found an extended family here in Florida that we can grow with. And I love that they love our daughter just as much as I do. 
Worst: I am feeling so so tired recently. I know that having a newborn is exhausting. I know that this time will pass soon and that these late nights will seem like a distant memory, but right now I would give my left arm for 8 uninterrupted hours. 
Love this story: Mr. R. and I are not wonders in the kitchen, but what we eat we make together. We each have a say as to what goes on our table and through out the 5 years of our marriage our pallets have become more adventurous and our cookings skills have become more advanced. I love that we try a new recipe each week. I love that we are no longer stuck in a pasta/meat & potatoes rut. In two hours, (this Saturday afternoon), we made Enchilada soup, Peperocini beef, and Cobb Salad pasta

 Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Soup: This is a one pot recipe that is make in my favorite appliance THE CROCKPOT! Layer the following: two chicken breasts, 1 red onion diced, 3 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 cup of frozen corn, 1 can of black beans drained, 1 14oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 1 quart of chicken broth, 1 can of enchilada sauce (red), 1 cup of masa harina (whisked in with two cups of water), 1 tsp. of cumin, 1 tsp. of chili powder, 1/2 tsp. of salt.  Place the lid on your crock and turn it to low. Cook for 8-10 hours. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week In Our Life: Friday

Remember This: If Piper ever refuses to sleep all we need to do is take her to the beach. 10 minutes in to our beach stroll Pip was passed out in the stroller enjoying the breeze. 
Observations: Friday night water ice can change my whole out look. I am not going to lie, this week has been a tough one. By Friday afternoon I was spent mentally, physically, and socially. The last thing I wanted to do was have date night, but at Mr. R's insistence we headed to the island for white sand, fresh air, and Rita's water ice. We have a tradition at Casa Repub. of ordering different things, sampling each other's choices and then voting on who made the best decision. Mr. R. ordered a lemon cream pie water ice and he was the clear winner. It was well worth the calories!
Favorite Moments: Singing loudly (and off key) to Journey while riding home from the beach. "When the lights go down in the city..."

Best: TGIF! Enough said.
Worst: Massive house cleaning required. I don't know how two adults, a newborn, and two pups can do so much damage to a house. But believe me, it is totally possible.
Love this story: I took Pipe to the pool and a little boy and his grandmother where also swimming. He asked if Piper was a boy and his grandmother was so embarrassed. She kept saying, "look at her pink swimsuit and her pink float. How on earth could you think that cute baby girl is a boy!". And then he answered, "her haircut is just like mine! See it sticks up in the front and is short on top. She has great hair like me!" 
Recipe: Jalepeno popper black bean burgers. I followed this recipe, but subbed in a pre-made Morningstar Farm black bean burger for the ground beef version. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week in Our Life: Thursday

Remember This: Piper's visit with G&P. We took our nightly walk and made a detour by my grandparents house. She squealed, cooed, and smiled for the entire visit. She definitely recognizes their faces and voices now. My grandfather (who we call Palsy (pronounced Pal-Z) is totally trying to make his name her first word. I have been working on Piper saying Mama for months now, but I think with him I have some serious competition :)
Observations: Piper passed out in the bouncy chair this afternoon. I fed her and Jeff offered to bounce her while I showered. When I came back to check on her she was zonked out in her seat while Jeff continued working on client requests. I guess she doesn't find Federal Procurement as exhilarating as her Daddy does. 
 Favorite Moments: At Casa Republican I have been trying to celebrate the everyday. My goal is to be grateful for the little things and to remember just how blessed I really am. That being said, we introduced Champers Thursday. We broke about the bubbly and the red velvet cake. What are we celebrating? Our health, the gorgeous summer weather, good friends, our beautiful daughter, clean sheets, and that tomorrow is FRIDAY!

Best: Having lunch with Danielle and finding out she is having a healthy baby girl! Piper and Little J are going to be awesome friends! I cannot wait for dress-up days, tea parties, and mommy daughter lunches. 
Worst: We are experiencing some changes on the Republican home front. And while changes can be good they can also be VERY SCARY. I am trying to embrace those changes with open arms and excitement, but I just wish we could jump to the next step already!
Love this story: I have a cup of coffee with creamer every morning while I feed Piper. When I finish the cup I place it on the floor next to the chair where I sit. For the past week when I go to put the cup in the dishwasher (later in the day) it is never in the place where I left it. Sometimes it's under the chair, sometimes it's by the sliding glass door, and sometimes it's under Pip's bouncy seat. Today I found out the mystery behind the moving cup. Sophie (our dachshund) has been licking the cup to get the last of the coffee creamer after I finish. She pushes and moves the cup as she licks it. Thanks goodness I have policy to never use the same cup twice!
Recipe: Tonight I made Jenna's gnocchi with goat cheese and tomatoes. I added onion and spinach to my version and it was delicious!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week in Our Life: Wednesday

Remember This: Peek-a-Boo! We learned today that Piper likes to play peek-a-boo. Our babysitter Rita discovered that if you cover you face and say peek-a-boo Piper squeals and laughs! She also loves when Rita sings the ABCs and yells P is for Piper (after the letter P of course!).
 Observations: You can't please all the people all the time. I spent today in training again and while our new observation program and learning goals are new and different they will really help me tailor my classroom to student needs and streamline my workload. However, when you are in a room with 40 other voices it becomes very easy to be swayed to the dark side. I just had to tell myself that nothing (no matter how good is it) will ever meet the needs of everyone or make every last person happy. I just need to do my job to the best of my abilities and stay very far away from the Negative Nancys of the world. 
Favorite Moments: Piper's library arrived today! My mom (aka Mimi) has been packing up my childhood books and shipping them down here for Pip. We received our first boxes back in January (they were full of my favorite Bernstein Bear classics and Dr. Seuss). The second shipment arrived today and they contained animal picture books and the Sesame Street Letter Library. Tonight we read Piper Volume 2, all about they letters C,D and the number 2. 

C is for cookie and it's good enough for me!

Best: We were able to attend small group tonight. (our church's form of Bible study fellowship) It was great to see old friends, catch up, share our prayer requests, and allow them to meet Piper. I know I have said to before, but it really is amazing to watch others shower your baby with love. We are blessed to be surrounded by such good people. 
Worst: Gnats! We have been having a rainy summer here in Florida. The nice thing about rain is our lawn looks fantastic, our water bill is lower than ever, and we are no longer under draught warnings. The bad news is it is BUG CITY here in St. Augustine. Gnats attack you when you walk the dog, go to the pool, get out of the car, basically if you dare to step outside you dare to become one with the gnats.
Love this story: Our friends Amy and Dean have the most adorable six year old. He told everyone at small group tonight that TOMORROW HE WILL BE SIX! He told each of us individually and he was so excited to talk about his birthday and all the excitement and surprises that were waiting for him. Next year I will turn 30 and I can only hope I will be as excited about a new age, a new decade, and all the excitement and surprises I have waiting for me. 
Recipe: Vegetarian Chicken Parmesan: faux chicken patty + whole wheat spaghetti + tomato sauce + Mozzarella cheese. Cook spaghetti as directed on box and toss with the tomato sauce. Microwave the chicken patty (2 mins) and top with cheese. Serve chicken patty on top of the spaghetti. (Do not tell your husband the meal is meatless. Usually he can't tell!) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week in Our Life: Tuesday

Remember This: I want to remember how much I love teaching. I attended an 8 hour workshop today where I was talked to death. Lots of changes will be happening to my school and my classroom this year and I want to make sure I don't get bogged down in the process and lose the joy I have when I am working with my students. I also want to make sure I don't fall in to the trap of negative talk. Negativity steals joy and if anything, I have a lot to be joyful about this year. 
Observations: I can be a working mom! Today I was gone from my baby for 8 hours. I managed to pump milk (three times!) and still attend all my workshops and take copious pages of notes. I have to admit I was really worried about being able to still feed Piper when I went back to school full time. Today was like a practice work day and while it wasn't always easy, I managed and she was fine. 
Favorite Moments: I walked in the door at 4:00 and I was greeted by ALL my loved ones. This summer I have been home 20 hours a day only leaving the house twice a day for a trip to the gym and one errand. And sometimes being home ALL DAY LONG and can make me feel under appreciated. Today when I walked in Jeff and the pups were waiting to greet me and my girl was all smiles and kisses. I felt like a rockstar. 
Best: Family story time before bed. They very hungry caterpillar is our new fave. 
Worst: I was so hopping to grab a swim today, but its raining. I know I shouldn't complain because we REALLY need the rain. But I really like swimming
Love this story: We live in a very friendly neighborhood. Many of our neighbors watched me grow all through my pregnancy and were so excited to finally meet Piper. Now when we take afternoon walks as a family they come outside to talk to us, pet the pups, and see how much Piper has grown. If it takes a village to raise a child, I think we have it covered. 
Recipe: Tonight we ordered takeout. After working, working out, and cleaning the house I needed a break. Thankfully China Cafe came to my rescue.